Chamber Members:

Today is update day for unemployment numbers both in the country and state. Also, new information is out from The Illinois Department of Employment Security covering 1099 workers and the path for unemployment insurance and how companies need to watch out how this process evolves.

Unemployment Report

Between March 1st and May 2nd, unemployment claims processed in Illinois now total 1,006,925. Throughout the country that number is just under 3.2 million for the last week. This is the lowest number recorded on a weekly basis since the COVID crisis, but that is by no means a victory. Since mid-March more than 33 million individuals have filed for benefits countrywide. Tomorrow will be the release of the April jobs report and it is a given that records will be shattered on both single month job declines and record unemployment rates.

Update from Congress

Speaker Pelosi has called for the Trump administration to adopt a set of national, science-based standards for reopening the country. “Everything should be based on science, and not the state or local — whatever it is,” she said. “And if you are going to have a standard, you really have to have a federal standard. Because as we know, viruses know no borders, nationally, but they certainly don’t know any state borders.”

On the state aid front, several Republican Senators are now joining their colleagues across the aisle for federal aid that has been reported as high as $1 trillion. They are starting to be vocal that their states are facing just as dire financial challenges as democratic states.

Variance of State Aid

When Congress decided on direct federal aid to all 50 states it seems as if they followed the usual political process. Lower populated states have been receiving higher dollar amounts per capita for some time now due to the fact that all states have two senators that lobby just as hard as the more populated states for federal dollars. The two hardest hit states with coronavirus cases right now are New York and New Jersey. They each received about $25,000 per positive test, while smaller positive case states like Alaska ($3.4 million per) and Hawaii ($2 million per) scored big. In Wyoming, with less than 600 positive cases, the $1.25 billion it received equates to 80 percent of its annual general state budget. Remember, the $150 billion that was divided amongst states is supposed to cover coronavirus related expenses only. Here in Illinois, we’ve received a little less than $100,000 per case. We’re still working to verify that the state can only share this federal money with cities once the legislators return and approve the disbursement.

Legislation to Cancel Rent and Defer Mortgage

Legislation was unveiled to protect those hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic from losing their apartments, homes, or shops through the end of 2020. Apartment rents would be canceled for six months and a rent freeze would also apply. Mortgage payments on homes would be able to be deferred through the end of the year as well. Property tax payments are coming due soon as well and this legislation would waive penalties for those who fail to make payment. To qualify, an individual would need to show a negative financial, medical, or other impact due to COVID-19. The includes loss of income, furlough, work reduction or interruption due to work or school closure, and/or increased household, childcare, healthcare expenses.

1099 Worker Unemployment Assistance

The new application portal for 1099 workers is set to open on May 11. Workers who are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, must first apply for regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under the PUA. So, companies using independent contractors need to be on the watch for claim notices through IDES. Be sure to timely respond to the IDES when your company receives a claim notice filed by a 1099 worker (independent contractor).

To be eligible for PUA, the independent contractor must first be denied regular unemployment insurance benefits. If a 1099 worker (independent contractor) receives an eligibility determination of $0 after applying for regular unemployment insurance benefits with the IDES, this shows the IDES views the 1099 worker to be a “non-employee.” Then the 1099 worker can protest that decision by providing to the IDES verification of wages earned, or the 1099 worker can submit a claim to the IDES for PUA benefits. Unemployment insurance claimants who have already applied for and been denied regular unemployment benefits by the IDES can submit a claim to the IDES through the new PUA portal when it opens on the IDES website on May 11, 2020. Receiving a denial for regular unemployment benefits is a mandatory first step in determining eligibility for PUA under the IDES system.

PUA provides 100% federally-funded unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related reasons and are not eligible for the state’s regular unemployment insurance program, the extended benefit (EB) program under Illinois law, or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC), including independent contractors and sole-proprietors. Up to 39 weeks’ worth of benefits are potentially available under the program for COVID-19-related unemployment claims. PUA claims will be backdated to the individuals’ first week of unemployment, but no earlier than Feb. 2 and will continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed because of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending Dec. 26.

You are Invited to a Public Lecture

Be part of a virtual audience and learn about Argonne’s Impact on the COVID-19 pandemic during their OutLoud Lecture:

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Argonne National Laboratory has been tackling challenges the virus presents. Their leading scientists are using the Lab’s state-of-the-art facilities and collaborating with research teams from around the country to deliver analysis and share discoveries that are significantly contributing to the global war against COVID-19.

Hear firsthand from three of the Lab’s scientific leaders who are conducting critical research to develop treatments and a vaccine; using supercomputers to narrow down the potential treatments that can be tested in a lab; and creating epidemiological models that can inform civic leaders as they determine how and when to revise public health policies and interventions.

Featured speakers are:

  • Stephen K. Streiffer, Interim Deputy Laboratory Director for Science, Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences, and Director of the Advanced Photon Source
  • Rick L. Stevens, Associate Laboratory Director for Computing, Environment and Life Sciences and Professor, Department of Computer Science at The University of Chicago
  • Charles M. “Chick” Macal, Argonne Distinguished Scientist & Social, Behavioral, and Decision Science Group Leader

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and ask questions of these scientific experts.

If you have questions about the OutLoud Lecture Series, please contact us at



May 19, 2020

7:00-8:15 p.m. (CDT)

Details for the online lecture will be provided upon registration. Click here to REGISTER

Finally, don’t forget to join us tomorrow at 10:00 AM as we present our next virtual conference featuring Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. You can register here to received login details:

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors



Mike Paone

Vice President – Government Affairs

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

815.727.5371 main

815.727.5373 direct